SLAUGHTER OF INNOCENCE, A POEM

For Lisa Saunders;
For the kids in Columbine and Utoya;
For the kids at Sandy Hook and in Peshawar
And for the kids crossing borders, fleeing the brutality of our kind.
For you and all the other kids abused by our species:

What a pity, our children must grow up!
to struggle through the early movements,
limbs unfolding, limbering; to laugh aloud or cry;
to experience the touch of a stranger’s hand;
to smell the richness of wet earth,
and taste the sun’s light in earth’s greenery
and hear their own voices answering the wind. . .
To articulate these blessings is the miracle of the mind.

A pity, they’ll throw it away as we did in the prime
of our lives, at the height of our abilities when the promise
of success filled our lungs with the sweet air of spring.
A pity, they’ll sow the whispering seed we call truth blown
from our parched lips that will germinate in their innocence
to clamor again in cloudy blooms of grey invective.

And you say, it’s better they be slaughtered by the sword
when young, than become the bearer of the sword searching
for the peacemaker. You say, better they die in their own blood,
than carry in their blood the tragedy of our species.

And I say, a pity, when the world and its endless gifts
are always within our reach, here, in the birth cry of a child.

 

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